Shahidul Alam’s ‘Best Years of My Life’ in Berlin
29 Jun 2017, 13:42
Address by State Secretary Dr. Markus Ederer and address by photographer Dr. Shahidul Alam of Drik, marks the closing session of the Global Forum on Migration and Development in Berlin at 4:00pm, Friday 30 June 2017 at Blaue Halle, Federal Foreign Office, Berlin in Germany.
The exhibition premiered at the Global Forum on Migration and Development in Dhaka in December 2016.
A smaller version of the exhibition can be seen at Drik Gallery in Panthpath (Union Heights, Level 7, 55-2, West Panthapath, Dhaka).
‘That single hope, to change one's destiny, is what ties all migrants together whether they be the Bangladeshis who work in the forests of Malaysia, who work as unskilled labour in the Middle East, or those who go to the promised lands of the US. Not all of them are poor. Many are skilled and well educated. Still, the possibility of changing one's destiny is the single driving force that pushes people into precarious journeys all across the globe. They see it not merely as a means for economic freedom, but also as a means for social mobility.’
‘The Best Years of My Life’ undertakes a holistic view of the migration of Bangladeshis to Malaysia. It attempts to create a better understanding of the complex issues surrounding migration, and looks pragmatically at integration and re-integration. It analyses the social, economic, legal and cultural environments under which immigration takes place.
A photographer, writer, curator and activist, Shahidul Alam obtained a PhD in chemistry before switching to photography. His ongoing personal project ‘A Struggle for Democracy’ is a milestone in documentary photography practice in Bangladesh. A former president of the Bangladesh Photographic Society, Alam set up the Drik Picture Library and Majority World agencies, Chobi Mela Festival of Photography and Pathshala, South Asian Media Institute, considered one of the finest schools of photography in the world.
Alam has been shown in MOMA in New York, Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, Royal Albert Hall and Tate Modern in London. A guest curator of Whitechapel Gallery, National Art Gallery Malaysia, Musée du quai Branly and Brussels Biennale, Alam was given the Shilpakala Award in 2015 for his contribution to the arts in Bangladesh.
A speaker at Harvard, Stanford, Oxford and Cambridge universities and top museums worldwide, Alam has been a jury member in prestigious international contests like World Press Photo, which he chaired. Alam is a visiting professor of Sunderland University in UK, an advisory board member of National Geographic Society and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society.